Adolescent Time and Risk Preferences: Measurement, Determinants and Field Consequences
62 Pages Posted: 4 Oct 2019
Date Written: August 1, 2019
We use experimental and survey measures to evaluate the time and risk preferences of nearly 500 adolescents aged 16-19 years old. We find that survey questions about time and risk preferences are weakly correlated with corresponding experiments in which participants trade-off monetary rewards. We also find interesting heterogeneities: girls are less risk seeking and more patient than boys when risk and time preferences are measured via surveys, and black adolescents are less risk seeking and more impatient than white or Hispanic adolescents on some measures. Parent time and risk preferences are strongly predictive of adolescent preferences for both survey and experimental measures. Interestingly, the survey measures have more predictive power for field outcomes than the experimental measures. Higher patience as measured by the survey is significantly associated with lower body mass index (BMI), less time spent on sedentary activities, more time spent on physical activity and lower consumption of fast food and sweets.
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